Ayla Brown on her music career, her Senator-elect dad, and 'American Idol' after Simon Cowell: The Music Mix interview

As of a couple weeks ago, American Idol season five alum Ayla Brown wasn’t planning to release her new EP until this April. Then last Tuesday, Jan. 19, her father, Scott Brown, was elected the first Republican U.S. Senator from Massachusetts in a generation. The next morning, she got a call from her label, Double Deal Brand Records. “They’re like, ‘Hey, we’re going to release the CD,'” the Boston College senior, 21, recalls.”So I had no say in it. We were lucky — it was already done and ready to go.”

Even if it came as a slight surprise, Brown (pictured on Idol in 2006) is glad those political headlines caused Double Deal to rush the Circles EP to market on Jan. 26. “I feel like it’s almost promoting itself in a way after my dad won the election,” she says. “When you’re part of an indie label, every little bit of promotion and publicity will help your music career.”

Read on for Ayla Brown’s thoughts on her American Idol experience, why it’s a mistake for the show to let Simon Cowell leave — and how her father the Senator-elect would fare if he had to face Randy, Kara, and Simon.

On why you should check out her Circles EP:
When I put out my first CD, Forward, I didn’t really have much of a connection with it. The reason I say that is because I only co-wrote two of the 11 songs, just because we had to put it out so quickly due to NCAA basketball rules that I was living under when I was a freshman. This CD I’ve had much more of a part in, in terms of the thought process, the lyric writing, music, everything. It means that much more to me because of that.

On her Idol experience:
Absolutely it was positive. I was 17 at the time. I had only played basketball. Never sang in front of people, except for national anthems at local high school games. So being on stage with a live band was a first for me. Of course I was nervous. Of course there were times I felt I had no idea what I was doing. That was the fun part.

On her fellow Idol season five contestants:
I keep in touch with Ace Young. I saw Paris Bennett actually last year when we were traveling through Minnesota. I was not expecting to see her at all. I catch up with Mandisa from time to time. Katharine McPhee just wrote on my Twitter page, and I haven’t spoken to her since Idol at all. Will Makar, who got eliminated the same night as I did, signed with the same record label as me, so I keep in touch with him a lot.

On whether Idol will work without Simon Cowell:
To be honest, I don’t think so. Which is unfortunate, because Idol is such a great family show. But I think without a Simon persona, the show will not be successful. I just feel as though the past couple years, they’ve tried everything to get the ratings that they did in season four and five, but it just hasn’t worked out as well as they thought. So I think by Simon leaving, it’s going to be a real loss to the show.

On who should replace Cowell:
Me. [Laughs] No, I’m kidding. I don’t know. I think it should definitely be another man. A person like David Foster would be incredible as a judge on that show.

On the current season of Idol:
The only night I missed was the victory night for my dad, that Tuesday. But I’ve seen every other episode.

On whether she’s interested in a political career herself:
No, not in the immediate future. A lot of people have asked me that, because halfway through the campaign I came out and supported my dad at his press conference, because I felt like what his opponent was doing was wrong. But I was really just doing that to support my dad and set the record straight.

On whether her father, Sen.-elect Scott Brown, has any musical talent:
Well, like I said on Idol, I used to think that my dad was Elvis Presley…He thinks that he gave me the singing talent, because he used to sing to my mom’s tummy every day. So I’ll give it to him, why not. [Laughs]

On how her father would fare if he tried out for Idol:
Uh, I don’t think he would do well at all. I haven’t heard him sing in years. I would be very curious to see how that would go.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More from EW.com’s Music Mix:
Ayla Brown: Watch the new video from the American Idol alum whose dad just got elected to the Senate
New Mariah Carey video, ‘Up Out My Face’: Finally, Mimi does it right!
Matt Morris: Justin Timberlake’s “Hallelujah” duet partner talks Haiti telethon, Justin’s next move
Kanye West: New album sooner than expected?

Photo credit: Ray Mickshaw/WireImage.com

Comments (13 total) Add your comment
  • mscisluv

    I’m an extremely avid Idol watcher, but I don’t have even the vaguest memory of her.

    • Liza

      Trust me, you’re not missing much. Her father has been parading her around and she made the local circuit of fairs here in Mass and she’s bad and a whiner too.

  • Villi Manilli

    I remember her!

    I thought she rather annoying.

    • Villi Manilli

      insert was.

    • Sally in Chicago

      I remember her too and thought she should have advanced forward. When she was booted she looked really surprised and defeated.

  • junk

    she did a great rendition of christina aguilera’s “reflection” when she was on the show, and i was a fan ever since. i didn’t follow her post-idol career though, but i may just have to pick up this album.

  • me

    I have her debut CD. Some songs — ick, some songs — not bad, some songs — wow, that should have been on the radio.o

  • Kiki

    She also covered Unwritten before it broke wide on the radio and Simon called it a poor song choice. Made me snort when less than a month later it seemed like it was on EVERY radio station.

    • anonymous

      Except he wasn’t wrong. It was a poor song choice, for her. I like her voice much better now, what with her singing more in her range (and tuned in the studio), but I think she picked too many personal favorites on Idol rather than songs that showcased her voice best.

  • bootsycolumbia

    I remember her, but she didn’t leave a huge impression on me at the time. I like her suggestion of David Foster as a replacement for Simon Cowell. He’s had years in the music business, won an armload of Grammys, he knows talent when he hears it, and he’s a straight shooter. His musical style is not really to my taste, but I’d still rather listen to his opinion than Randy, Kara or Ellen.

  • Sally in Chicago

    Trust me, Clive will buy her record contract and make her a star, if she wants it.

  • Andrew

    I’m glad she’s making a comeback. Ayla would’ve done better on the show if she had picked a better song on the top 16 show. “Unwritten” is a great song, but it wasn’t able to show off her voice or personality.

  • amilda

    I thinking Ayla it’s a wonderful singer .With a great personalidad,If she go back at Americ Idol she will be.Ii’m for fan number one.

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